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Toyota Celsior, Lexus LS400 gearshift removal and leather recover.
May 2007 , by Peter Scott

I think new leather wheel and shifter recovering is a fabulous upgrade. The wheel is the first thing I see and touch when driving the car and it's such a pleasure having new leather.

Unfortunately removing the Celsior / LS 400 gearshift is much harder than on the Soarer / SC400.

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I popped out the two screw covers on the gearshift easy enough. They have slots and tabs in the covers and they only go back one way. It was very tight to get them back in the holes afterwards with the new leather cover.

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The top wood surround is held by two clips near the cup holder. I used fingers and a butter knife to gently lever the piece up.

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The black surround with the ECT switch etc in it just pulled up.

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Next comes the wire cutting. I was determined not to cut the wires. That blue sheath contains two white wires that go to the overdrive button. It is held so tightly with zip ties that the shifter won't move. If I was patient enough I could have removed the blue plug, unpicked the the two white wires going into it and gently pulled it all through and out the shifter gear stick. I find it so tight and fiddly in there that I too just cut the blue sheath in half and rejoined it afterwards with those blue crimp butt joiners.

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Once the blue sheath/white wires were cut the shifter can be pulled up and away. Afterwards the white wires will have to be threaded back down the gearstick.

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The overdrive button was levered out gently. When I reinstalled it the button got stuck in the down position - I had to wiggle the whole assembly back out a little bit to get it working smoothly again.

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The standard stitch is a single thread. I had mine recovered in the double thread baseball stitch. Smooth style stitch looks nice too.

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I bought a spare Celsior wheel and shifter so my car wouldn't be off the road while getting the leather done during the week. This is not the worst leather wheel I have seen either!

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The Celsior wheel comes with a cast in rubber coloured back cover. Which is bit of a pain when it comes changeover time. Soarer wheels can be swapped for any colour - but Celsior wheels have to be swapped tan for tan, grey for grey, chocolate brown for chocolate brown. So I only have a change over for the tan interior Celsior / LS400.

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For my Celsior I paid extra for the Perforated Sport Grips and 1mm Control Foam under the leather. It is superb to drive with now. The Control Foam looks a bit thicker (like most modern cars) and has a softer feel with more grip I feel. I love it. I think it's worth paying the extra over the standard leather wheel recover. Instructions on how to remove the wheel are the same for the Soarer and listed below.

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Now the interior looks great - it all looks finished - no more worn shiny shifter and wheel. It's even better to drive now.

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It's always been a fabulous car - now it's even better. The dark grey interior has a good matching leather no worries. The chocolate brown interior needs to have the horn pad and rear of steering wheel painted to match the nearest leather colour match.


iconwheel3.jpg (18127 bytes) Removing the Soarer steering wheel, shifter and handbrake - same procedure for the Celsior wheel.

A few pics taken when I removed my gear for leather recovering.

iconpack1a.jpg (14601 bytes) Soarer / SC400 Handbrake grip, cover and shifter in matching leather.

Look here for more comparisons of the different colours and prices for grip, cover and shifter.

iconwheelshtgrey3.jpg (11858 bytes) OEM Quality Leather Steering Wheel re-trim

New leather for your steering wheel by OEM professionals. Pictures of a light grey trim now added. Yes all brands of wheels can be done. People are blown away with the quality - it really is perfect as new from factory.


$190 for all Toyota wheels
+$10 for Control Foam
+$10 for Sport Grips

$55 for all shifters

$25 registered postage and handling within Australia. If living in Adelaide, Australia we can organise a pickup instead of postage.

$20 fee plus $100 refundable deposit if, like me, you want to keep the car on the road during the leather recovering and want to use the changeover set (available for tan interiors only since the wheel is built in rubber coloured back cover)

Payment is by direct deposit or paypal (2% extra paypal fee). Email me for details. yahooemail.gif (6336 bytes)

best regards

Peter Scott